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本文摘要:When executives at Valencell, a North Carolina-based tech company, agreed to meet Apple researchers in 2013 to discuss the heart-rate sensor technology they had developed for mobile fitness trackers, they probably envisioned a potentially lucrative partnership with one of the wealthiest companies in the world.Valencell是一家总部设于美国北卡罗来纳州的科技公司。


When executives at Valencell, a North Carolina-based tech company, agreed to meet Apple researchers in 2013 to discuss the heart-rate sensor technology they had developed for mobile fitness trackers, they probably envisioned a potentially lucrative partnership with one of the wealthiest companies in the world.Valencell是一家总部设于美国北卡罗来纳州的科技公司。2013年,该公司的管理层曾表示同意与苹果(Apple)公司的研究人员展开会面,辩论Valencell早前为移动身体健康追踪设备所研发的心率感应器技术。当时Valencell的管理层也许期望能与全球最富裕的公司之一创建起未来将会带给可观利润的合作关系。Apple was, at the time, believed to be creating a watch that would incorporate the technology used in its iPhones and iPads. Any deal incorporating Valencell’s fitness technology could be particularly profitable for the seven-year-old company so Valencell was all too eager to help. But after a series of meetings at which Valencell demonstrated its technology to Apple, no contract was ever offered and the tech giant, Valencell alleges, disappeared.当时外界指出苹果正在研发一种手表,这款手表将带入该公司在iPhone和iPad上所用于的那种技术。

如果与苹果达成协议、让其在产品中带入Valencell的身体健康技术,有可能为这家当时已正式成立七年的公司带给可观利润,因此Valencell当时十分大力地向苹果获取协助。但在一系列会面之后——Valencell在会面的过程中向苹果展出了自己的技术——作为科技巨头的苹果公司未明确提出签订合同,并且音信全无。Yet when the Apple Watch was unveiled, Valencell claims the product contained the exact functions that it had been showing to Apple — and Valencell has filed a lawsuit to that effect. The lawsuit, filed in January at federal court in North Carolina, also alleges that Apple employees who were working on developing the watch used fake names to download publicly available white papers from their website detailing how the sensors worked. Apple had not yet responded to the claims in court at time of writing and declined to comment to the Financial Times.但当苹果手表(Apple Watch)面世时,Valencell称之为,该产品包括了与自己曾向苹果展出过的几乎一样的功能——Valencell甚至还就此事驳回了诉讼。

这项诉讼于今年1月在北卡罗来纳州的联邦法院明确提出,其中还声称苹果公司负责管理苹果手表研发工作的雇员用于片假名,从Valencell的网站iTunes了公开发表公布的白皮书,白皮书中对感应器的工作原理做到了详尽讲解。截至记者编辑时(原文公开发表于3月16日——译者录),苹果未有在法庭上就Valencell的指控作出对此,也拒绝接受就此事向英国《金融时报》置评。“Apple is knowingly using Valencell’s patented technology in an effort to achieve a licensing rate that is below a reasonable royalty,” Valencell’s lawyers allege in the lawsuit. Apple had decided “that the benefits of infringing upon Valencell’s patented technology outweigh the risk of being caught and ultimately forced to pay damages”.Valencell公司的律师在起诉书中声称:“苹果公司正在无意用于Valencell的专利技术,期望借以构建高于合理水平的许可费。

”苹果公司早就确认,“侵害Valencell技术专利权所带给的收益,多达了被控侵权行为并最后不得不赔偿损失的风险。”While the case may seem a straightforward intellectual property dispute, it is also one of a handful of lawsuits around the technology used in the emerging field of smartwatches. Lawyers are not expecting the same multi-million-dollar litigation boom that was seen in the patent wars stemming from the first smartphones, but they are predicting further claims as the market matures and a wider range of companies seek to create watches with ever-improved technology and design features.这起诉讼看上去或许是一个非常简单具体的知识产权争端,但它还是有关智能手表这一新兴领域所用技术的为数不多的几起诉讼之一。律师们不指出此案不会引发金额低约数百万美元的诉讼热潮,就像第一代智能手机曾引向的专利权大战那样;但他们预计,随着市场逐步成熟期以及更加多企业企图建构出有技术和设计特性不断改进的智能手表,还不会有更加多的诉讼经常出现。

The battles between major tech companies including Apple, Nokia, HTC, Google and Sony over smartphone technology began in late 2009 when Nokia and Apple sued each other for alleged infringement of various patents. In the ensuing years, lawsuits, countersuits and trade complaints have mounted, resulting in verdicts and settlements that have reached and sometimes exceeded $1bn. Some cases are still going on.还包括苹果、诺基亚(Nokia) 宏达电(HTC)、谷歌(Google)和索尼(Sony)在内的科技巨头环绕智能手机技术进行的战争始自2009年末,当时诺基亚和苹果都把对方告上了法庭,相互指控对方侵害了己方的多项专利。在接下来的几年间,诉讼、反诉讼以及贸易受理的数量大幅提高,由此产生了金额低约、有些时候甚至多达10亿美元的裁决与妥协。有些诉讼时至今日仍在展开。

Last year, Apple and Ericsson began a dispute over whether the Swedish technology group’s 4G mobile patents are essential for the manufacture of the iPhone and how much Apple should pay if they are. It was settled in December 2015 with a patent licensing deal between the companies.去年,苹果与瑞典科技巨头爱立信(Ericsson)进行了一场诉讼,双方争辩的问题是:爱立信的4G移动专利对于iPhone的生产生产而言否不可或缺,如果答案是认同的,苹果又应该为此缴纳多少钱。此案于2015年12月达成协议妥协,两家公司之间达成协议了一项专利许可协议。Alan Fisch, an intellectual property lawyer at Fisch Sigler in Washington DC, says the level of claims will depend on how popular the watches become. “Smartwatch patent battles will increase or decrease as a function of the demand for the product itself,” he says. “Substantial patent disputes often follow a substantial demand for a new product class. This was true for sewing machines in the 1800s, disposable diapers in the 1900s and smartphones in the 2000s.”艾伦菲什(Alan Fisch)是华盛顿特区菲什西格勒(Fisch Sigler)律师事务所的一名知识产权律师。他回应,诉讼的数量水平将各不相同智能手表未来的风行程度。


十九世纪缝纫机问世时、二十世纪重复使用内衣经常出现时以及二十一世纪智能手机问世时都经常出现了这种情况。”Analysts at Gartner, a technology research company, expect the market for smartwatches to soar, with sales projected to rise 6 per cent from 30.32m units in 2015 to 50.4m units this year, generating about $11.5bn in revenues. That figure is projected to increase even further in 2017 to 66.71m units.科技行业研究公司低德纳(Gartner)的分析师预计,智能手表的市场将步入进步,预计今年智能手表的销售量将从2015年的3032万台快速增长至5040万台,增幅超过6%,由此建构出约115亿美元的营收。

2017年智能手表的销售量预计将更进一步快速增长至6671万台。Kurt Calia, a litigation partner at Covington Burling in Silicon Valley, says that, so far, there is not the same demand for smartwatches that there has been for smartphones, but that could change as the technology develops and more companies introduce their own versions. Still, the market is never likely to be as big because smartwatches are not considered as essential as smartphones have become.硅谷科文顿柏灵律师事务所(Covington Burling)的诉讼合伙人柯特卡利亚(Kurt Calia)回应,到目前为止,人们对智能手表的市场需求没超过对智能手机的市场需求曾有的规模,但随着技术的发展以及更加多的公司公布自己的智能手表产品,这种情况有可能发生变化。但智能手表市场总有一天也不有可能像智能手机那样可观,因为智能手表在人们显然不像智能手机那样不可或缺。

“A lot of the foundational technology that formed the basis of the fight in the smartphone wars is still applicable, like touch screens,” says Mr Calia. Many of these disputes have now been resolved through lawsuits. “But there could be a number of other areas that are unique to smartwatches, such as biometric sensors that monitor your pulse. You can’t do that with your smartphone. Or around flexible displays, there’s a whole lot of technology around miniaturisation. If and when there are lawsuits I suspect it’ll be on those sorts of technologies.”卡利亚认为:“大量包含智能手机专利战争议点的基础性技术,某种程度限于于智能手表,例如触摸屏。”很多这类争议现通过诉讼的形式获得了解决问题。“但还有其他几个领域是智能手表所独特的,例如需要监控你脉搏的生物感应器。


”He cited a lawsuit in federal court in the Eastern District of Texas in which a patent that covered security systems, where a smartwatch could be used to turn on or off a car alarm, was in dispute. In that case, last June, Colorado-based Intellectual Capital Consulting sued Apple, Samsung, Lenovo, LG, Sony and car manufacturers including Audi, BMW and General Motors. It claimed they were infringing its patent for remote car start, lock and alarm systems via smartwatch.他援引了德克萨斯州东区(Eastern District of Texas)联邦法院审理的一起案件,其中争议的焦点是一项涵括安全性系统的专利技术,通过该技术可以将智能手表用作关上或重开汽车报警器。在去年6月的这起案件中,总部坐落于科罗拉多州的Intellectual Capital Consulting(全称ICC)控告了苹果、三星(Samsung)、误解(Lenovo)、LG、索尼和还包括奥迪(Audi)、宝马(BMW)、通用汽车(General Motors)在内的多家汽车制造商。

ICC声称,这些企业侵害了它的一项专利,该专利是通过智能手表遥控汽车的启动、锁上以及警报系统。“That’s an example where there’ll be a distinct point of function; those are the kinds of things we’ll probably see,” Mr Calia says. “There’s unlikely to be the big titan v titan litigation that we saw in the smartphone wars.”卡利亚回应:“在这个案例中,诉讼环绕的是一个具体的功能点;那将是我们很有可能看见的诉讼类型。不太可能经常出现像我们在智能手机专利战中所看见的巨头对巨头的大规模诉讼。

”Mauricio Uribe, a partner in Seattle with the intellectual property law firm Knobbe Martens, says it is unlikely there will be a rash of claims over smartwatches because, in addition to it being a smaller market than smartphones, they do not work in the same way.知识产权律师事务所克诺布马滕斯(Knobbe Martens)派驻西雅图的合伙人毛里西奥乌里布(Mauricio Uribe)回应,不太可能一下子经常出现大量有关智能手表的专利权诉讼,不仅是因为智能手表的市场规模比智能手机市场小,还因为智能手表和智能手机的工作模式也不一样。“Other than some of the more generic Bluetooth or WiFi standards, the operation of smartwatches to date does not involve standardised technologies,” he says. “This makes patent evaluations more specific to the individual devices and does not lend itself to widespread licensing efforts akin to the smartphones.”他认为:“除了某些更为标准化的蓝牙或WiFi技术标准,到目前为止智能手表的运营没牵涉到到标准化技术。这使得涉及专利的估值更为细化到个体设备,并且无法像智能手机领域那样用作大范围的专利许可派发。”In the Valencell lawsuit, the problem began in February 2013 when Liang Hoe, at the time a senior partnership manager at Apple, contacted Valencell to discuss the latter’s heart-rate sensor technology. Talks between the two companies progressed and in June 2013 Dr Steven LeBoeuf, the co-founder of Valencell, met Apple representatives to discuss using some of its features in Apple’s products, the lawsuit says.在Valencell一案中,问题始自2013年2月,时任苹果高级合伙人经理的Liang Hoe联系了Valencell,辩论后者的心率感应器技术。

起诉书称之为,两家公司之间的会晤获得了进展,Valencell的牵头创始人史蒂文勒伯夫博士(Dr Steven LeBoeuf)于2013年6月会见了苹果公司的代表,商谈将Valencell的某些特性用作苹果公司的产品。In the summer of that year, Valencell demonstrated a watch to about 15 Apple employees that included a heart-rate monitor. Apple was sent some of the products powered by Valencell’s technology, known as PerformTek, the lawsuit alleges, and until March 2014 Apple carried out detailed testing on the products and analysed their circuitry. In December that year, there was another meeting with Dr LeBoeuf. By April 2015, Apple began shipping its watch, without ever negotiating a contract with Valencell, it is alleged. The North Carolina tech company is accusing Apple of infringing four of its patents and of unfair and deceptive trade practices.那一年夏天,Valencell向大约15名苹果员工展出了一款具有心率监测器的手表。起诉书称之为,苹果接到了使用Valencell技术的几款产品,这项技术取名为PerformTek;截至2014年3月,苹果对这些产品展开了详尽的测试,并分析了它们的电路结构。那一年的12月,苹果又与勒伯夫博士举办了一次会面。

到了2015年4月,苹果的智能手表产品开始销售,据信苹果一直没与Valencell协商议定合约。Valencell现控告苹果侵害自己的四项专利以及采行不公平和欺骗性的商业手段。While the majority of legal disputes over smartwatches are bound to hinge on intellectual property rights, they are not the only issues engaging lawyers.虽然绝大多数有关智能手表的法律争端都不可避免地环绕着知识产权,但知识产权并不是唯一必须律师请出的问题。

In the EU, regulation that takes effect in March gives smartwatch makers an advantage: customs agents now have the right to seize any counterfeit goods that pass through a country in the trade bloc. Previously, if the goods were shipped from China, en route to the US, for example, customs officers did not have the right to seize them, says Daniel Marschollek, a disputes partner at Norton Rose Fulbright in Frankfurt. “For sure there are counterfeit smartwatches out there,” Mr Marschollek says. “We have for a considerable period of time represented the then world-market leader in cell phones and whatever they launched was immediately copied.”在欧盟(EU),今年3月生效的一项法律彰显了智能手表生产商一项有利条件:海关官员现在有权充公途径欧盟任一成员国的任何假造商品。诺顿罗氏律师事务所(Norton Rose Fulbright)派驻法兰克福的诉讼合伙人丹尼尔马斯科莱克(Daniel Marschollek)回应,以前的情况是,如果货物从比方说中国收到,正在运往美国的途中,欧盟的海关官员没权利将其充公。

马斯科莱克称之为:“毫无疑问市场上不存在假造的智能手表产品,我们曾在很长一段时间里代理当时手机领域的世界市场领导企业,那时不管他们公布什么产品,都会马上被假货。”Then there is the long-shot case filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court by a group called Coalition Against Distracted Driving against companies including Apple, Samsung, Microsoft and Google. It asked for at least $1bn annually to fund a public education campaign to explain the risks of using smartwatches while driving.还有一起并不大站得住脚的诉讼,由一个名为“反走神驾驶员联盟”(Coalition Against Distracted Driving)的团体在洛杉矶县加州高等法院驳回,被告方是还包括苹果、三星、微软公司(Microsoft)、谷歌在内的多家企业。该团体拒绝这些企业每年最少缴纳10亿美元,以反对一项向公众说明驾车时用于智能手表风险的教育活动。

And in a David v Goliath dispute, a 32-year-old man from Wales won a lawsuit against Apple over a crack in his Apple Watch Sport, which he noticed 10 days after he bought it in July. The tech giant refused to reimburse him because it said the claim was not covered by warranty, but Gareth Cross challenged them in a small claims court in Aberystwyth, Wales, saying the company had claimed it was scratch-resistant. Apple was ordered to refund the watch, plus Mr Cross’s legal costs, and may have to change its marketing claims as a result. Mr Cross told the BBC that despite the dispute, he would be buying another Apple Watch.而在一起近似于蚂蚁对大象的诉讼案中,32岁、来自英国威尔士的加雷思克罗斯(Gareth Cross)将苹果公司告上了法庭。克罗斯去年7月售予运动版苹果手表(Apple Watch Sport),10天后找到手表上有一道裂痕,但苹果公司拒绝接受给他付款,称之为这一问题并不在产品的售后服务范围以内。





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